Cocinar con amor

What does it mean to “cook with love”? The expression has become almost trite, as if talent is less an integral ingredient than passion. As if someone with enthusiasm can will a dish into greatness.

But when talent and passion merge — when a chef or cook knows the techniques (and even invents a few) while absolutely loving the process and the ingredients — magic happens.

Julio Ramirez and Marie Perucca-Ramirez

Julio Ramirez and Marie Perucca-Ramirez.

Julio Ramirez speaks of food and his eyes dance (call it a salsa). He smiles as he speaks, and spits out words one tick faster than his brain sometimes allows, malapropisms be damned. He loves to talk (for hours if you’ll let him) about food and the fascinating way it nurtures our soul. In Ramirez’s world, he embraces the words, cocinar con amor.

His passion, talent and business acumen led to the founding, along with his wife Marie Perucca-Ramirez, of two or our most heralded restaurants, The Fishwife Seafood Restaurants and Turtle Bay Taquerias, businesses they’ve long ago sold.

Certified as an Executive Chef by the American Culinary Federation, Ramirez was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Chefs in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded the ACF President’s Medallion and in 2005 he was awarded the Antonin Carême Medal by the Pacific Coast Chef’s Association for the excellence of his work and his humanitarian efforts in the community. Continue reading